The Russian Doping Scandal Has Struck The Innocent Sport Of Curling

We regret to inform you that the scourge of doping has hit the most innocent and pure sport imaginable: curling.

Aleksandr Kruhelnitckii, a bronze-medallist at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang along with his wife in mixed doubles curling, is suspected of having tested positive for meldonium, according to a source.

Meldonium is an anti-ischemic drug which increases bloodflow, which leads to increased exercise capacity. It’s banned by more or less every peak athletic body these days – you might recall that it was also at the centre of the Maria Sharapova drug scandal.

Russia has long been accused of state-sanctioned doping of athletes. The country isn’t officially represented at the Winter Olympics this year as a result, though Kruhelnitckii still competes under the neutral banner of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). The neutral designation means they can’t display their flag or other national symbols, and they can’t play the national anthem.

The source, speaking to Reuters, claims that Russian sports officials are to meet Olympic anti-doping authorities to provide a so-called ‘B’ sample. If it’s confirmed, the bronze medal in curling will go to Norway.

“I hope it’s not true … for the sport of curling,” said Norwegian team skipper Thomas Ulsrud.

“If it’s true I feel really sad for the Norwegian team who worked really hard and ended up in fourth place and just left for Norway and they aren’t even here.”

A spokesperson for the IOC confirmed that they had taken note of the allegations, but gave no more info. They did say that it would be thoroughly disappointing if true:

On the one hand it is extremely disappointing when prohibited substances might have been used, but on the other hand it shows the effectiveness of the anti-doping system at the Games which protects the rights of all the clean athletes.

Curling. You thought it was an innocent sport where people shuffle around big discs for some reason. You couldn’t be more wrong.